It has been an inglorious end for a once-glorious Preston eatery.
Visitors to Tiggis in Guildhall Street over the past week have been stunned to find a terse note on the door: “This restaurant is now closed for business. Apologies for any inconvenience.”
It has certainly been inconvenient for the hungry diners who have arrived fancying a meal at their favourite Italian, only to find everything on the menu was off.
And it was even more inconvenient for the family who received a phone call on the eve of their son’s big graduation celebration telling them: “Sorry you can’t come tomorrow, we’ve shut.”
Sadly Tiggis is no more, although the name lives on above the doors of other restaurants elsewhere in Lancashire which no longer have any association with the place in Preston where it all began.
Almost 30 years of serving up a treat for foodies have come to a shuddering halt.
Liquidators have announced that, despite mixed messages over the past few days, the much-loved restaurant will not be re-opening. All 18 staff have been made redundant.
The news has come as yet another huge body blow to diners in the city, already reeling from the closures of two of the cities best-loved curry houses - the Spice of Bengal and the King Karai - as well as the disappearance of venues like Dukpond.
Founded in 1978, Tiggis won a place in people’s hearts as, for many years at least, the place to go for an authentic Italian meal at a reasonable price.
Hundreds of thousands of customers passed through its doors every year, many of them attending office parties, birthday bashes, reunions, leaving do’s and, yes, a few graduation celebrations.
Only last year one former student at UCLan returned to the city to meet up with old friends for a 20th anniversary party and chose Tiggi’s as the place to host it.
Sue Chan said: “It was a nice evening. Nothing has changed. Enjoyed the food and the prosecco.”
Two years ago it was one of 12 restaurants chosen for a Dine With The Stars event as part of Love Food, Love Preston. TV chef Ed Baines ate there and left impressed.
Tiggis was particularly good at catering for large parties and boasted it offered “home-cooked Italian food done right.”
Liquidators Beever and Struthers from Manchester have now confirmed the passing of Tiggis in Preston.
In a statement the accountants say: “Beever and Struthers has been instructed by the director of La Marokina Limited, trading as Tiggis Preston, to assist him with placing the business into liquidation.
“The business has ceased trading, there are no plans for it to resume trading and 18 staff have unfortunately been made redundant.
“All claims for wages and other claims owed will be processed as soon as possible via the relevant government department.
“There is no business or trading connection between Tiggis Preston and other restaurants in Lancashire bearing that name.
“Any similarities in the name are purely historical and they are therefore unaffected by the liquidation.”
Are you saddened by the passing of a Preston institution?
Tell us your memories of Tiggis in Guildhall Street.